Is Your Whole Wheat Bread Really Whole Wheat, Or Have You Been Tricked?

  August 25, 2011  |    Blog

Brown Bread For Health?

As kids, our Mom would send us off to school with a brown bagged peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. Back then, which was many more years ago then we like to admit, we were the only ones at the kindergarten lunch table whose sandwiches weren’t on white bread. We both remember feeling left out and when we finally begged our Mom to try the white bread, it stuck to the roof of our mouths so much that we wondered how kids could eat the stuff…

And boy, have times changed. By now, most people have heard that whole grains like whole wheat bread are much healthier than their refined “white” counterparts; many kids’s lunch boxes contain peanut butter and jelly (and other sandwich fillings) on whole wheat bread.


Yet, surprisingly, our client’s tell us that they know that whole grains are healthier, but they aren’t entirely sure why. The truth is that whole grains are so much healthier than refined ones that the government says you should get at least half of your grain servings (at least 3 ounces per day) from the whole grain. We think you should aim to make all of your grains, whole grains.

Here’s why:

What Makes A Whole Grain Different Than A Refined One?

Both grains come out of the ground in their natural state—as a whole grain, consisting of three parts: bran (healthy, outer layer), germ (healthy, core) and the endosperm (starch).

When grains are refined through processing, their bran and germ are removed, which takes away many of the grain’s nutrients, and leaves just the starch.

This means that the refined grains are stripped of all the good stuff—fiber, antioxidants, tumor suppressors, cholesterol reducers, insulin regulators, antithrombotic agents, phytoestrogens, and vitamin E, folic acid, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Clearly, since the whole grain has all of this, it is the nutritional winner!

Get Your Game Face on–It’s Easy to Be Tricked When Shopping For The Whole Grain


Venturing down the bread aisle and looking for the whole grain, you may choose the darker colored breads, assuming they are the whole grain. Don’t be tricked! The darker color may simply mean that caramel coloring or molasses has been added, not that you are picking a whole grain. Argh!

In addition, many people assume that because a grain says 7-Grain, 9-Grain or Wheat Bread, these are whole grain breads. However, this is not always the case!

Use The Ingredient Label To Identify The Good Stuff—the Whole Grain

Next time you head down the bread aisle or want to buy any grain, including rice, look at the food label and find the part labeled “ingredients.” The only way to guarantee that a food is made from a whole grain is if the first ingredient listed on the nutrition label has the word “whole” in it. For example, whole wheat (also known as graham flour), whole rye, whole oat, whole barley, etc. Don’t be tricked by seemingly fancy wording like, “enriched bromated wheat flour” which is nothing more than refined flour! Remember, all you need to see is the word “whole” before the grain.

Go With The Whole Grain!

Whole Grain

Refined Grain



As long as the first ingredient says “whole”, like “whole wheat” or “whole rye”

12 Grain Stoned Wheat Enriched Wheat



Cracked Wheat




Rices: Brown rice

Wild Rice

White rice
Pastas: The first ingredient says “whole” wheat The first ingredient does NOT say “whole”
Cold and Hot Cereals: Cheerios


Post Raisin Bran


Shredded Wheat

General Mills Wheat Chex, Quaker Toasted Oatmeal Squares


Nutrigrain Golden Wheat Oatmeal


Corn Flakes

Special K

Rice Krispies

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Puffed Wheat

Cream of Wheat


Cream of Rice

Crackers: Rye Krisp

RYVITA Crispbread


Kavli Whole Grain Crispbread Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers

Wheat thins

Stone Ground Wheat Thins Saltines


Stoned Wheat Crackers Keebler’s Wheatables

Nabisco Harvest Crisp 5-Grain Snack Crackers

Corn: Popcorn (corn on the cob is a vegetable) Cornflakes


Corn muffins

Corn tortillas

Other Grains Amaranth,


Buckwheat groats (Kasha) Bulgur



*Want to be entered into a great sweepstakes. Enter the Whole Grain Stampede ! September is Whole Grains Month Visit the WGC website anytime from September 1-30 and tell us about your favorite whole grain products bearing the Whole Grain Stamp.

Your entry puts you in the running for a random drawing to win two great prizes:

1st Prize $5,000 of grocery money and a year’s worth of Quaker whole grain products*

courtesy of The Quaker Oats Company

2nd Prize An iPad2, loaded with food and health apps

courtesy of Ultragrain from ConAgra Mills

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